Workplace Injuries Are Rising and Climate Change Could Be Behind It


    Studies show that an employee is injured in the workplace every seven seconds in the United States. According to the National Safety Council, that translates to 12,900 workers hurt every day for a total of 4.7 million injuries annually.

    Those numbers have a high possibility of increasing, in fact, due to the 160,000 recent college grads entering the job market this year.

    CBS News reports that Travelers, one of the largest workers’ compensation insurance companies, found that workplace injuries can happen in any business or occupation. Lifting, lowering, or carrying objects were found to be the most common causes of injuries. These injuries often result in strains, sprains, and inflammation.

    Although most only result in minor injuries, accidents involving tools of some sort made the list of the top five accidents in all industries. Small businesses proved to suffer the most as a result of many of these accidents.

    The U.S. Department of Labor reports that slips, trips, and falls contribute to 15% of all accidental deaths each year, and new research shows that these accidents could be attributed to conditions in warmer climates.

    According to Tech Times, climate changes are contributing to an epidemic of heat-incited injuries. Developing countries are seeing a 10% decrease in working hours due to extreme work conditions from climate change. As a result, these countries’ economies are expected to lose $2 trillion by 2030.

    The areas at most risk for heat-related workplace injuries include Central America, the Caribbean, North Africa, Southeast Asia, and states in the southern region of the United States. Outdoor labor and industrial services are primary sources of income in these areas, and workers are exposed to the dangerous conditions more than they need to be.

    “Governments and employers have to take this issue of the cauldron of a warming planet seriously and develop some effective policy responses and practical measures to protect workers,” said UNI Global Union general secretary Phillip Jennings.